£1.9m boost for former civic site housing

22 November 2022

A MAJOR new housing scheme in Sunderland has received a £1.9m boost from Government, as work advances on the transformation of its city centre.

Sunderland’s former Civic Centre site – which will be transformed into a new 265-home community – has been backed with support of the Brownfield Release Fund (BLRF2) from the One Public Estate programme.  The funding – awarded after a successful bid by Sunderland City Council - is among the highest allocation granted to any town or city in the UK, enabling the site to be rapidly regenerated, creating more homes in the city centre, a core focus of the local authority. 

More than £1.9m [£1,943,657] will enable the council to prepare the ground for the development of the Burdon Road site, using funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which was created to support the transformation of derelict land to create thriving communities and help level up the country.  The funding announcement was made over the weekend [November 19].

The Civic Centre was vacated by Sunderland City Council earlier this year, after it moved to City Hall at Riverside Sunderland, a modern public-sector hub bringing together a range of services for residents under one roof.  MGL Demolition, part of the MGL Group, started to dismantle the 1960s building at the end of summer, paving the way for a sustainable community of high-quality new homes, the residents of which will refuel the city centre economy, to be developed by Vistry Partnerships North East.

The scheme will transform the site into a stunning housing scheme, creating attractive new city centre properties and open green spaces.  It is part of a wider programme of regeneration in the city centre that seeks to double the number of people living and working in the area. The housing will also provide a welcome boost to existing traders and improve connectivity between the city centre, neighbouring communities and Mowbray Park, underpinning council plans for 7,000 new homes in the city by 2030.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re pleased to have secured an allocation of funding that will support us to quickly transform this site. 

“The pace of change in Sunderland city centre is undeniable right now, and there can be no mistaking the level of ambition, led by this council, that is driving the regeneration of all corners of the city.  This is another great boost for Sunderland.”

The new development from Vistry Partnerships North East, will provide a range of attractive new homes, standing within high-quality public open spaces, with plenty of cycling and pedestrian links, improving access to the city centre.  It will see the recreation of Saint George’s Square – bomb damaged during the Second World War and lost to redevelopment in the 60s – with the Grade II listed Saint George’s House as the focal point.

The architecture and streetscape will be sensitive to the park side location and the Ashbrooke Conservation Area and properties will be sold under Vistry’s house building brand Linden Homes and will range from one to four bedroomed homes, with many benefitting from views across Mowbray Park.

As well as this development, Sunderland City Council is also delivering on ambitions to build contemporary new city centre homes on the Riverside Sunderland site, as well as driving developments at the seafront and Sunderland South Growth Area (SSGA).